Rumors about Minsk Group expansion ‘a spoiler’ – Sergey Lavrov

Many areas that may lead to settlement of the situation in Nagorno Karabakh have already been outlined, and no one wants the conflict to continue, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after negotiations with his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov on Monday, TASS reports.

“No one is satisfied with the conflict, and a solution should be sought for, all the more so because many areas that are expected to bring results have already been outlined,” he said.

“As an OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing country, we will continue looking for mutually acceptable ways of peaceful settlement with regard to the developments that emerged during the recent meeting of the three co-chairs – Russian, American and French – with the Azerbaijani and Armenian Foreign Ministers in Moscow,” the Russian Foreign Minister added.

Proposals on the possible expansion of the OSCE Minsk Group format can be used as ‘a spoiler,’ Lavrov said, RIA Novosti reported.

“There is an agreed format with three Co-Chairs. They do not just exist in a vacuum, they jointly co-chair the OSCE Minsk Group, which brings together all the more or less interested countries capable of influencing the process,” the Russian Foreign Minister said.

“I have not heard any talks about the expansion of the format. I think that in this and other conflicting situations proposals on something new can be used – intentionally or unintentionally – as spoilers of what is being done in a well-established format acceptable to both parties,” he added.

Cooperation between Russia and the US on Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement has not been affected by the current state of relations between the two countries, Lavrov said.

“We share a position with the US and France, and it is well-known,” Lavrov continued. “Co-chairmen, these tree countries, regularly meet at the level of ambassadors and ministers, as well as regularly visit the region.”

The Russian Foreign Minister also expressed hope that the meeting between Azerbaijani and Armenian Presidents Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan held in October would help overcome  “some kind of stagnation” in the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement.

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